3. NY Jets third linebacker
The Jets opted not to re-sign linebacker Kwon Alexander or sign any other notable veteran at the position this offseason. That left a pretty sizable hole in the Jets' defense.
After all, Alexander played all 17 games last season and was on the field for 49 percent of the Jets' defensive snaps. Replacing his role is a tall order, and the Jets are relying on the young linebackers on their roster to step up.
The favorite for that job is former fifth-round pick Jamien Sherwood, and by all accounts, it's hard to imagine he doesn't earn the role. The Jets' coaching staff loves Sherwood and is excited to see him take on a larger role this season.
He was facing competition in the form of former draft pick Hamsah Nasirildeen, 2022 practice squad member Chazz Surratt, and 2023 sixth-round pick Zaire Barnes. Nasirildeen is on the injured reserve, Surratt hasn't practiced since the first preseason game, and Barnes is stuck taking second/third-team reps.
Barnes is likely Sherwood's strongest competition, and the rookie is coming off a very promising performance in the Jets' preseason victory over the Carolina Panthers.
Still, it seems unlikely that Barnes will be able to do enough to usurp Sherwood before Week 1. The Jets really like Sherwood and believe he could become a long-term starter on defense.
There's a reason the Jets didn't bring in a veteran linebacker this offseason. That's primarily because they believe in Sherwood. It's always been his job to lose.